In this year I have met lots of new people, and got to meet old friends as well. New Year's Eve was more lively than the usual sitting at Nan's, watching Big Ben strike midnight. Admittedly, I watched a ball drop instead from Times Square, so the televisual part of the day wasn't any more special. But Jamie and I did go to Emily's house and especially got to talk to her friends Sarah, April and Maria - and Jamie got to catch up with an acquaintance - and when the New Year was rang in, the house was full of joy, everyone hugging to celebrate the New Year. After getting used to spending the New Year with two people, twenty-four other people wishing you a New Year feels so much happier.
For the next two days, we caught up with Jamie's siblings Kipa and Naiche. We met up at an ice rink, where everyone else was good at skating, and I took baby steps around the rink. We all played Mario Kart to death during the trip, with the special moment of the day being when the kids were told it was their bedtime by their foster mother Edith, but everyone kept playing Mario Kart against each other from their respective rooms. It was also nice to have them jump on us to wake us up the morning after this evening of fun. I listened to Naiche give a speech about citizenship and he taught us how to draw a car, and listened to Kipa play the cello. These kids are bright and interesting and beautiful people. The trip ended with lots of hugs, but the news that Edith wants us to come back soon. It feels incredible knowing that Jamie has had trouble in getting to see these children for years, and now long weekends are being planned just for us.
Since then, we've also had the chance to buy some films and eat some pizza with Jay and got to watch the 'classic' film Warlock with Emily and her brother Dave. Lastly, we met up with Phil in New York, because he wanted to adopt a kitten. Jamie fell in love with a cat, as did Phil - I'm sure he'll have a new friend to show off in picture form really soon. We also went to a very nice vegetarian diner and Jamie picked up a charming bricky version of Jack Skellington.
We also finally got our Christmas presents from our family back in England. Comfortable shoes for me, a wallet and keychain and ridiculously preppy t-shirts for Jamie, an MP3 player for both of us, and £440 - which converted to $730. We also got a wonderful present from Rose, sending me and Jamie a vegetarian/vegan cookbook.
My interview is now nearly a month a way and there's a lot still to do. But I feel confident that once this stress is over, the rest of the year will be filled with as much entertainment as this first week has.